The title Course Correction is an apt name for an episode predominantly focused on determinism and avoiding a fate prophesied. Another few pieces of the jigsaw slot into place for both the audience and the Mosaic investigation. Old sub-plots are re-addressed, some possibly unnecessarily, but they stimulate some interesting ideas and continue the theme of the meandering flow of time.
We begin with some welcome insight into the fabled experiment which is clearly a nod to the real world Hadron Collider. I’ve always enjoyed that link to reality, especially with the furore that existed before it was finally switched on after several breakdowns. It’s an excellent way of sparking ‘what if’ questions in the viewer's mind and even though the premise of global blackouts is rather ridiculous, somehow the show manages to pass off the events as scientifically plausible. I’m glad they are taking the time to layer some technical flamboyance to the story, even if it can’t stand up to scrutiny.
A flashback shows an early interaction between Simon Campos and Lloyd Simcoe that explains Simon’s absence on the day of the experiment. Dominic Monaghan is superb in this scene and his delivery of some arguably hollow lines results in quite a tense moment. This particular trip down memory lane continues with a look at ground zero and the origins of the quantum blast which caused the entire world to blackout. We are given a countdown and some quite impressive special effects, not usually seen on the small screen, as the machine punctures space time and shifts the global population to an alternate consciousness.
When we return to the present, Lloyd Simcoe is in a television studio trying to quell panic surrounding the Flashforward. You have to give credit to the producers for their decision to avoid using a ‘meanwhile, back in the present’ subtitle and instead use some intelligently placed dialogue to orientate its viewers. This scene also acts to introduce the theme of determinism and being unable to escape ones fate, or as many may call ‘that thing what happens in Final Destination’. A woman we faintly remember from earlier in the season, Celia Quinones (the woman that was going to be killed by Al Gough before he jumped to his death) acts as a second guest on the talk show, to discuss her escape from the grave. From here we are also reminded of the Blue Hand Group (your thinking of the other blue group aren’t you?), which provides an example of the individuals who instead of avoiding their ‘final destination’ have simply made a slight ‘course correction’. (I think it’s quite obvious what I did there, and yes I am mildly ashamed).
This whole technique of bringing in a theme of ones predetermined fate, was interesting and it did link up well with earlier scenes in the series which I hadn’t picked up on till now, but it was all a little too neat and convenient. It’s nice to tie off loose ends, but we had Celia, the MI6 agent, the Blue Hand Group and its organiser all meshed together like some kind of Kevin Bacon sandwich (patent pending).
The other main plot line we follow in Course Correction surrounds Simon Campos and his younger sister’s kidnapping, which was being used by the mysterious evil organization as leverage to secure his co-operation. To be brutally honest, I had all but forgotten about this, especially after the thrill ride that was Garden of Forking Paths and I would have welcomed a little more background information about Simon‘s sister so that I could empathise with the conflict he is clearly trying to resolve. This does lead to some great moments however, and we are left feeling deeply uncertain over what Simon will do next; although it’s very apparent he’s planning something significant.
Although Gabriel doesn’t get that much screen time, what we do see is a real highlight in the episode. Like a slightly more comedic version of Rainman, he manages to achieve the first real piece of humour we’ve seen in the show. His reaction to the Burger is brilliant and full credit goes to James Callis for pulling that off so perfectly.
The only other development of note, is within the Bryce, Keiko, Nicole love triangle, with Nicole stumbling across the identity and location of Bryces’s mystery Japanese love. Now that her feelings are becoming stronger she is left with the dilemma of what to do with the information. This is quite intriguing, nothing mind-blowing, but I was wondering where they were going to go with this storyline and this twist is a satisfying progression.
Not as action packed or enthralling as the last few episodes, but still can’t be described as a ‘filler’ either. The writers are exploring certain themes which adds an element of maturity to the show and also links up ideas previously only touched upon, such as the bird that flew into the MI6 window. Many questions are reintroduced and I suspect Course Correction will act as a spring board for some far more significant events and the second Flashforward which now seems immanent. Hopefully we will see more of Simon Campos and Gabriel because they bring a real dynamic to the rest of the cast. But most of all I’m now really starting to look forward to March 29th to see whether free will or determinism will win the battle. As long as it doesn’t end up like last nights UK elections, then I’ll be more than happy.
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